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New Release Review and Giveaway: LEGALLY UNDEAD by Margo Bond Collins (Vampirarchy #1)

Such a fun book! Can’t wait for the next one in the series 🙂



A reluctant vampire hunter, stalking New York City as only a scorned bride can.

Elle Dupree has her life all figured out: first a wedding, then her Ph.D., then swank faculty parties where she’ll serve wine and cheese and introduce people to her husband the lawyer.

But those plans disintegrate when she walks in on a vampire draining the blood from her fiancé Greg. Horrified, she screams and runs–not away from the vampire, but toward it, brandishing a wooden letter opener.

As she slams the improvised stake into the vampire’s heart, a team of black-clad men bursts into the apartment. Turning around to face them, Elle discovers that Greg’s body is gone—and her perfect life falls apart.



Margo Bond Collins can write fun, snarky heroines like no one’s business. Like this quote, from the middle of a huge fight with dozens of scary vamps:

Okay. That did it. I’d been hit, punched, kicked, and ear-licked all in the past fifteen minutes. But pulling my hair was just beyond the pale.

(Really, I think the ear-licking would have done it for me. Because, ugh.)

Legally Undead was so much fun to read. I loved being in Elle’s head as she went from woman-who-has-her-whole-life-planned-out to woman-with-a-vampire-ex-fiance-who-stalks-the-undead-for-a-living. I highlighted many, many passages that made me smile, laugh, and even snort out loud–most of which I can’t post here because they’d need too much context or they’d constitute spoilers. But trust me, there’s a lot.

Mini Moe #2 was in the next room while I read the last third or so of the book, and kept demanding to know what I’d made “that noise” for. (One answer, “A detailed description of a difficult beheading” got an even louder noise in response than the one I’d made in the first place. It’s pretty bad. Well-deserved, mind you, but totally gross.)

Elle’s just as surprised as the next person when her first response to finding her fiance being sucked dry by a vamp in their living room is to run toward the monster, not away. In her rage, she uses a wooden letter opener to dispatch the offending intruder, and her new vigilante career is born. She goes through a quick training and a lot of trial and error (note to self: sticking sharp chopsticks in one’s bra when going out on a not-date can have embarrassing consequences) and finally ends up with one heck of a kick-butt weapon and some decent fighting skills.

And a Taser. Bonus!

As much as I loved Elle, the four commando-style hunters she teams up with: Nick, Dom, John, and Tony–are just as awesome. They each have their areas of expertise, and I especially loved hearing their stories of how they joined the group (Dom: “I figured that I wasn’t gonna find any cooler job than one where I got paid to play with computers and kill vampires.”) Malcolm, Elle’s possible new love interest, has a lot of promise too. Fingers crossed that we’ll see a lot more of him as the series continues.

Legally Undead leaves you with a cliffhanger–of sorts. Elle’s survived her first big battle, but one enemy is still at large and another may have been created. It’s not Percy-and-Annabeth-are-tumbling-into-Tartarus-for-twelve-months huge, but it’s enough to have me eagerly anticipating the next book in the series to see what is going to happen next.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A-

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.



The worst thing about vampires is that they’re dead. That whole wanting to suck your blood business runs a close second, but for sheer creepiness, it’s the dead bit that gets me every time. They’re up and walking around and talking and sucking blood, but they’re dead. And then there’s the whole terminology problem–how can you kill something that’s already dead? It’s just wrong.

I was twenty-four the first time I . . . destroyed? dispatched? . . . a vampire. That’s when I found out that all the books and movies are wrong. When you stick a wooden stake into their hearts, vampires don’t disintegrate into dust. They don’t explode. They don’t spew blood everywhere. They just look surprised, groan, and collapse into a pile of corpse. But at least they lie still then, like corpses are supposed to.

Since that first kill (I might as well use the word–there really isn’t a better one), I’ve discovered that only if you’re lucky do vampires look surprised before they groan and fall down. If you’re unlucky and miss the heart, they look angry. And then they fight.

There are the other usual ways to kill vampires, of course, but these other ways can get a bit complicated. Vampires are notoriously difficult to trick into sunlight. They have an uncanny ability to sense when there’s any sunlight within miles of them, and they’re awfully good at hiding from it. Holy water doesn’t kill them; it just distracts them for a while, and then they get that angry look again. And it takes a pretty big blade to cut off someone’s head–even an already dead someone–and carrying a great big knife around New York City, even the Bronx, is a sure way to get arrested. Nope, pointy sticks are the best way to go, all the way around.

My own pointy stick is actually more of a little knife with wood inlay on the blade–the metal makes it slide in easier. I had the knife specially made by an old Italian guy in just about the only ratty part of Westchester, north of the city. I tried to order one off the internet, but it turns out that while it’s easy to find wood-inlay handles, the blades themselves tend to be metal. Fat lot those people know.

But I wasn’t thinking any of this when I pulled the knife out of the body on the ground. I was thinking something more along the lines of “Oh, bloody hell. Not again.”

Goodreads link


Margo Bond Collins is the author of a number of novels, including Waking Up Dead, Fairy, Texas, and Legally Undead. She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters.

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